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Today’s Gospel
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February 23rd: Memorial of Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr

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Gospel text (Jn 15:18-21): Jesus said to his disciples; “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first." Jesus said to his disciples; “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.”

Today, when remembering Saint Polycarp, a great Father of the Church, history shows us that Christ and His Gospel are always a contradiction sign for the world. So did Saint Polycarp understand it and lived by it. He was born in Smyrna, in present-day Turkey, which became a Roman province in Asia Minor, and he died a martyr in this city, having been a Bishop of the local Church. Polycarp, whose name means "abundant fruit", had met the apostle John and had been his disciple.

—He wrote a letter to the Christians in Philippi (Greece) to encourage them to live by following Jesus Christ: “Wherefore, girding up your loins serve the Lord in fear and truth, as those who have forsaken the vain, empty talk and error of the multitude”.